Avoid These Pitfalls That Can Ruin Your Art Sale

by Carolyn Edlund

As an artist, you’ll always be searching for ways to gain more customers. Avoid these common pitfalls that can lose them.


Shoppers in an art gallery


It’s natural for artist entrepreneurs to want to expand their customer base, increase sales and improve yearly income. Let’s look at some common stumbling blocks that might be hindering your success.

First, let’s acknowledge that selling art isn’t easy and it’s not intuitive for most creatives. It requires dedication and a deep understanding of what drives people to make purchases. The more you grasp effective marketing and sales strategies, the better equipped you’ll be to attract and retain customers.

What are these potential pitfalls?

Not Making Impact

Ever found yourself in a situation where someone just doesn’t seem to “get” your art? Whether you’re showcasing at an art exhibit or sharing your work online, you only have a brief moment to captivate your audience. Is your message clear? Do your branding and presentation grab attention? If people struggle to understand your work, they’re likely to move on.

Lack of a Clear Connection

Next, it’s crucial to grasp your customers’ needs. It’s no secret that people are primarily concerned with themselves. The degree to which your art and your concept intersect with what they care about and value will determine how seriously they may consider acquiring your art. Your task is to demonstrate how your art enriches their lives. How does it resonate with them on a personal level?

This core marketing strategy should be part of your brand narrative and the consistent story that you share as you promote your work and gain an audience. When you don’t  have a story to tell that connects with what matters to your audience, you risk losing potential buyers.

No Follow Up Activities

Rarely does a sale happen on the first encounter. It takes time and repeated exposure for customers to feel comfortable making a purchase. So, if someone shows interest, or if you receive a lead through your website, follow up! Neglecting this step is a common reason sales fall through. Consider establishing a follow-up plan to keep those leads engaged.

No Closing Strategy

Many artists complain about not making sales, but they actually have no idea how to close one. They may never ask for the sale, or lack an understanding of how sales conversations lead to a customer being comfortable about making a buying decision. If that is the case for you, do some reading about the sales process, handling objections and speaking about your artwork in terms of the customer’s needs and wants.

When discussing the purchase, don’t overlook the power of negotiation. Although some artists will offer a discount to seal the deal, there are other ways to accommodate the collector and gain their agreement. Do you offer custom work or commissions that can be personalized to the needs or wants of your prospect? Could you offer free shipping or perhaps complimentary delivery and installation for local buyers, especially for large pieces?

Stay flexible in your thinking and consider any objections you have heard from potential customers. Do they need the option to pay for your artwork over time? Do they desire to purchase a framed work? Will a Certificate of Authenticity make the purchase more attractive? Treat your collectors like VIPs when it comes to pricing and services. It can make all the difference in closing a sale and also build customer loyalty.

By steering clear of these pitfalls, you’ll be on the path to growing your customer base and successfully selling more of your exceptional artwork.



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